Network Session September 2021: Tap Sounds Series – Building Tap Floors

Network Session September 2021: Tap Sounds Series – Building Tap Floors

Took place online on Thursday 16 Sept

A fantastic session with some great information shared! 

  • Lee Payne from TDRN UK shared his experiences of dancing on different types of pre-made floors and building his own portable performance floors.
  • Susan Filipiak spoke about building a triple sprung studio floor based on the tech specs for the legendary floor at Woodpeckers Studio in New York which was built by Brenda Buffalino and the home of the American Tap Dance Orchestra.
  • Victor Perkins joined to tell us about his recently patented Jaia Board which he created with his daughter and is now retailing.

See below for more information and links…

From Lee Payne:

Some companies that provide portable floors of different sizes—sprung-flooring-for-dance-gyms-fitness-studio-floors

From Susan Filipiak:

“I was inspired by the wonderful floor (= instrument) that Brenda Bufalino had in her NYC Woodpeckers studio from 1989-1995.  What a wonderful sound, full bass notes, high treble and everything in between.  I built my studio in 1995 and have shared the plans with so many dancers (among them, Heather Cornell). Here are some photos and text to explain how I built a “triple-sprung, basketweave” floor.

Here is the original building specs for Brenda and the American Tap Dance Orchestra from 1989

Here’s my notes to Heather Cornell, describing how I built the floor

Here’s photos of my studio floor being built in 1995


Some useful links – 

Tung oil –

“Here are photos of a portable dance floor ‘Step-a-Tune’ made by Angelo Graziano, cabinet maker husband of clogger, Sheila Graziano and his description of his production:  ‘The step-a-tunes are constructed of premium 2×4’s. they are jointed and thickness planned. A rabbet joint is cut (with tadoo blade) on one edge to a 3/4″ depth to accept a 3/4″ thick piece of birch cabinet grade ply. The corners are a 45 degree angle cut with splices added for structural and art form. Sanded 80 grit with boiled linseed oil finish. pricing is based on cost of materials plus labor. Elderly music store does sell them and ships them’”

Step-a-Tune boards used by clog dancers –


From Victor Perkins


“JAIABOARDS are eletronic tap boards that picks up vibrations and connections to an amplifier with out the use of microphones. 

Microphones by nature suppress vibrations and picks up all sounds that travel through the air. As a result when tap dancers put microphones next to their boards they are not only picking up the sound of the taps but the sounds of the band in the background.

Using JAIABOARDS technology vibration sensors are used to to pick up the original tap sound caused by vibrations on the tap board without picking up any other sounds. This will allow the tap dancer to be heard over the band and plug into the sound system just like all the other instruments” (

Instagram link